A plea has gone out for funding to help open the north-east’s first soft play area for children with additional support needs.
Charity BECS (Because Everyone Counts) is building the facility at Burghmuir Circle in Inverurie.
The charity’s founder Becky Mennie, 32, said the play centre will make a huge difference to families in the area.
It was originally hoped the facility would open at the end of June but a lack of funding has meant the project has stalled at the final hurdle.
Becky, who is mum to three-year-old Mason, said around £12,000 is needed as soon as possible to cover running costs for the centre for the first couple of months.
A crowdfunder has been launched to get the necessary funds.
The charity has already hosted other third sector organisations at the facility for a trial run.
Becky said: “We have had a few people get in touch with us already to ask if we are open.
“Down Syndrome Scotland and Rainbow Rogues have been in trialling the soft play area because they have hire bookings in for later on in the year.
“It was great to have them in as it gave us more publicity to the people they support.
“However, we do need the funding as soon as we can.”
She added: “We are ready to open but we need the money for rent and to cover wages for when we first open and start getting people in.
“It is the only thing holding us back, everyone here is ready.
“It is a case of getting this last bit of funding.
“We were hoping to be open by the start of the summer holidays so parents could use our facility.”
Becky added: “If we don’t get the facility funded we will lose it.
“The people who have been trialling it say it is great and much needed but if we can’t fund it we can’t keep it.
“Once we are open people will come to us but we first need people to buy in and help fund us.”
Work to install the play equipment, including a sensory room, was completed last month.
Proceeds from a charity football game featuring Highland League legends will also be going to the charity.
Around 50 past and present players will come together and play the exhibition match on August 25 at 1pm at The Haughs in Turriff.
Becky said: “We had Turriff United manager Kris Hunter into our facility and his children went straight into the soft play area.
“We are trying to tell everyone about the centre and to get them on board like Turriff United.
“It’s great they’ll be raising funds for us at the legends football match.”
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Councillors from Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee approved the proposals to convert the building earlier this year.
The planning application stated there would be six spaces for car parking.
Two parking spots would be used for staff and another four available for those dropping off.
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